Monday, January 8, 2018

Gov. Abbott’s appointees have given him more than $14 million

An investigation into 'pay-to-play' at the Governor's office reveals that individuals appointed by Abbott to government positions have donated over $14 million to his campaign war chest.

Read the story by Peggy Fikac and Annie Millerbernd at the Houston Chronicle. (paywall)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Texas Observer digs into tax-writing conflicts at the lege

Lawmaker on State Tax Committee Also Works for Texas’ Corporate Welfare King

Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster)

State Representative Drew Springer started working for corporate tax firm Ryan, LLC in March. He doesn't recall any conflicts of interest from a session spent overseeing Texas tax law.

Read complete story at the Texas Observer.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The 185 Mega-donors That Run Texas!

TPJ has compiled a list of the largest contributors of campaign money in the most recent Texas elections.
The top 185 contributors spent $131 million during the two-year 2016 election cycle for non-federal public offices.
The 185 mega-donors provided 67% of the $195 million total raised by all candidates for state offices.   
▶ The 185 mega-donors spent from $250,000 to $9 million apiece.  Thirty-one gave over $1 million each.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Paxton Criminal Trial Postponed - Again.

The Harris County judge overseeing the criminal prosecution of Attorney General Ken Paxton has agreed to postpone the trial, most recently scheduled for December 11, to sometime in 2018.

From the Texas Tribune:
Attorney General Ken Paxton's trial is delayed for a third time.

TPJ filed its original criminal complaint against Paxton in July, 2014.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Eeyore's Birthday Supports TPJ!

TPJ is proud to announce that the good folks who bring our community the annual Eeyore's Birthday Party recently provided us with a generous grant to help support our transparency and accountability work.  Our thanks to the Friends of the Forest Foundation.  Hope to see you April 28, 2018 at Pease Park!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

In Harvey's wake, critics see
big money behind lax reporting

From the Texas Tribune:

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, an exploding chemical plant and spikes in cancer-causing emissions are highlighting how little the public knows about potential dangers from the oil and chemical industries. Critics say one reason for the darkness: tons of campaign money.

Read full article at the Texas Tribune.
Read TPJ's report Running on Hydrocarbons.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ethics Commission Fines 2nd Toll Road Director in TPJ Complaint.
James Mills to Pay $1,000 Fine for Non-disclosure.

The Texas Ethics Commission has levied a $1,000 fine against former Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Director James Mills to resolve an ethics complaint that TPJ filed in March 2016.  The Commission's investigation confirmed TPJ's allegations that Mills failed to fully disclose his business interests in his 2014 and 2015 Personal Financial Statements as required by law.  TPJ filed similar complaints against CTRMA directors Charles Heimsath and Ray Wilkerson.  Heimsath was fined by the Commission on June 9, 2017.  The Wilkerson complaint is pending.  TPJ's original complaints against the toll-road directors can be found here.

Download the TEC Final Order in the Mills complaint.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lobby Watch:
A Special Session Built for Special Interests

Six of Gov. Abbott's 20 stated reasons for convening this special session would override local governments to benefit construction and development interests. Those same two industries have given Abbott $10.7 million, or 15 cents of every gubernatorial dollar that he raised. 

Read More as Lobby Watch digs into who wants to bulldoze city hall.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lobby Watch: Gold Deposits Contractor Paid Tribute to the King.

Heads of the Austin company that won a state contract to build a gold depository did not contribute to state candidates before Gov. Abbott signed the bill creating the Texas Bullion Depository. Between that signing and Comptroller Glenn Hegar's recent awarding of the depository contract, three Lone Star Tangible Assets leaders made coordinated contributions to deliver a total of $21,500 to Hegar and Abbott. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

TPJ Ethics Complaint: Toll Road Director
Fined for Failing to Disclose Business Interests

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Director Charles Heimsath agreed to pay a $300 fine to settle an ethics complaint that TPJ filed in March 2016. An Ethics Commission investigation confirmed TPJ's allegations that Heimsath failed to disclose his interests two Austin-based companies.  TPJ's March complaint, along with similar complaints against two other CTRMA directors can be found here.

Download the TEC Final Order in the Heimsath complaint.